Sam is seeing a therapist because, quite frankly, she is scared to death. Of course, the usual reasons come up during her session - her new move to a new city, being far from family, and obviously the fact that her husband is barely home. But Sam's fears don't really involve any of those things. Not her "real" fears, that is. You see, reader, Samantha is seemingly being tormented by a ghostly apparition - that of an older woman who, for whatever reason, has picked Sam as her favorite human to harass from beyond the grave. And also, yes, reader, this apparition truly is frightening.
"A Bitter Murmur" jumps from Sam's therapy session to various regular routines within her home - sleeping, bathing, you get the idea. However, as she's living what many would consider an everyday life, there's always the ghost lurking somewhere just within view. Or, perhaps there is no ghost at all, and the apparition is all just a figment of Sam's troubled state of mind. These "ghosts" are nothing new to Sam but are they real? That's for you, the viewer, to find out.
Let me be blunt. My biggest issue with this short film was the lack of a real story. The film starts and ends pretty much in the exact same way and nothing, at all, gets resolved - or even explained. I'll be the first to admit that "A Bitter Murmur" looks, sounds, and is performed and executed excellently. Detail, colors, framing, and even the edits are all top-notch and simply reek of experience. And yet, despite all this goodness, I never really got into the film that much. It's hard to build tension in such a short time - especially when it seems you're just getting introduced to the characters and the film is over. But even that wasn't the big thing for me. What bothered me was, again, the lack of story. We've got a woman who may or may not be haunted by something. There's no glue to hold it all together. Honestly, "A Bitter Murmur" felt more like a concept and proof of work than anything else—a showcase of the potential quality of a proposed project.
At the end of the day, I'll be the first to admit that "A Bitter Murmur" looks and sounds fantastic. I'll also admit that the premise is incredibly enticing - if you are a genre fan and probably even if you're not. All the pieces are here - there's just not enough of them. Still, "A Bitter Murmur" is worth checking out, even if just for the visuals and fine acting. I truly hope a larger project comes out of this - something we horror fans could really sink our teeth into.
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